Good (UAE) - - GOOD FOOD - Izu Ani is part­ner and head chef at The Light­house

How do you bal­ance lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional sourc­ing prac­tices?

We buy all our fruit and veg­eta­bles from the lo­cal mar­ket where pro­duce comes across the re­gion as well as the UAE. We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide the best for our cus­tomers and part of that re­spon­si­bil­ity is to source the best in­gre­di­ents within the re­gion. That said, most of our meat comes from Canada be­cause the abun­dance of nat­u­ral re­sources there means these an­i­mals live a very healthy life, which in turn re­sults in a su­pe­rior qual­ity end prod­uct. our fish is mostly from the Mediter­ranean be­cause it’s clos­est and fresh­est. Lo­cal fish isn’t as sus­tain­able as we would want it to be.

You’re pas­sion­ate about re­duc­ing food waste. How do you think restau­rants can in­flu­ence this?

I be­lieve so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity should be key for us all, and por­tion con­trol, bal­ance and ed­u­ca­tion can help re­duce food waste. I also make sure we use byprod­ucts to cre­ate new dishes. for ex­am­ple, us­ing veg­etable stems to make stock for risotto in­stead of throw­ing them out.

You work in Europe as well as in the Mid­dle East. How does cus­tomer en­gage­ment with eth­i­cal is­sues com­pare?

Nat­u­rally, Euro­pean con­sumers are more aware, and have been for a long time. But you learn from the peo­ple you are around, and hav­ing an ex­pat com­mu­nity, I be­lieve, is in­flu­enc­ing the way we ad­dress eth­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues here. It has a very pos­i­tive im­pact on the rest of the com­mu­nity in the UAE.

What would you like to see change to help re­duce food waste fur­ther in line with the gov­ern­ment’s ob­jec­tives?

The pack­ag­ing of the in­gre­di­ents is a prob­lem for me, there are too many boxes, even with lo­cal pro­duce, and there is just no need for it.

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